Ned Beckley is the commissioned composer for of dust, choreographed by Rachel Arianne Ogle for New Breed. Here’s an insight into his work for the piece:
How would you describe the music for ‘of dust’?
Magnificently beautiful and simultaneously destructive. The sonic formation throughout undergoes vast gravitational stretch and collapse that draws a powerful and evocative connection between life and death. It is heavy, dense and overwhelming as well as thin, vaporous and incandescent. These elements combined create a motion of decay and regeneration that ultimately reflects the structural formation of the universe, and the cycles of life and death.
What was your inspiration?
Following on from many conversations with Rachel, the death of a star in space, collapsing under the weight of its own gravity and it’s ensuing rebirth was predominantly my foundation for inspiration. This led to examining black holes, Supernova, gravitational waves and the stretching of time in space. Textures in sound are very important for me so the visual surfaces of planets, certain light reflections from tractor beams and lots of recordings from NASA were integral to me creating a sound palette that echoed these structures. Inspiration also equally came from the movement of the dancers. The precise, physically demanding and acutely complex choreography provided an influence on the way the sound formed through tension, intricate and elastic dynamics and transitions between the micro and macro.
Do you normally work with dancers? Tell us more about your experience.
No. This is the first time I have written music for dance. My background is in composing for film, where the image is fixed and the edit is locked. The fascination I found with composing for dance is the unique experiences where moments of beauty can all fall into place and the fluidity of the dancers bodies become a vehicle to transport and move an audience. I also found the collaborative process a very rewarding one, where together the choreographer and dancers both helped shape the sound and vice versa.
What has been your career highlight so far?
Working with Rachel and the Sydney Dance Company has been a definite highlight for me. Working with such a dedicated and motivating crew has been very inspiring and has opened my mind to a new world I really didn’t know existed. I have also been very fortunate to have collaborated and worked on many projects from big and small that has helped me shape my own voice and I am grateful I am able to continue to develop it through opportunities like New Breed.